Raids on terror suspects 'have reduced threat'

14th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

UPDATED 14 October 2005, AMSTERDAM — The arrest of seven terror suspects in raids in the Netherlands on Friday removes the acute threat faced by national politicians and the security service AIVD, Interior Minister Johan Remkes has claimed.

UPDATED 14 October 2005

AMSTERDAM — The arrest of seven terror suspects in raids in the Netherlands on Friday removes the acute threat faced by national politicians and the security service AIVD, Interior Minister Johan Remkes has claimed.

The six men and one women are suspected of having links to the 'Hofstadgroep'. This is the name given by justice officials to a group of young Muslims in the Netherlands accused of operating a terrorist cell.

The headquarters of the AIVD in Leidschendam and a number of national politicians were the targets of planned attacks, the minister said.

"It was essential to intervene to prevent attacks. The threat has not disappeared but the acute threat has been removed," Remkes said.

The suspects were held in Almere, Amsterdam and The Hague. Six of the suspects are men, aged 18 to 30. The seventh is a 24-year-old woman. One of the men is 19-year-old Samir A., the OM spokesperson said.

A. was cleared by a court earlier this year of plotting terrorist attacks on key installations in the Netherlands. He is considered the main suspect in the latest investigation.

Reports received by the Dutch intelligence service AIVD suggested, the OM said, that A. was trying to obtain automatic weapons and explosives.

Due to the perceived danger, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner granted permission for the use of elite BBE-SIE police units to carry out the arrests.

Earlier on Friday, it was reported shots had been fired as police raided a building on the Moerweg in The Hague. Witnesses reported seeing masked men with automatic weapons entering a flat complex.

Police sealed off the parliament buildings in The Hague as a precaution as the arrests were carried out. Security was also increased at other government buildings.

On Friday morning a court ruled that the man serving a life sentence for killing filmmaker Theo van Gogh last year could be tried for alleged membership of the Hofstadgroep.

Mohammed B. admitted murdering Van Gogh but has indicated he will defend himself against the charge relating to the Hofstadgroep.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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